The continued threat of the coronavirus is forcing cruise lines to cancel and modify Asia sailings into March and April, impacting the $45 billion cruise line industry.
China, a growing market for the industry, was the epicenter for COVID-19, though it has now spread to other countries. However, the World Health Organization said cruise travel remains a “manageable risk” and did not think it was necessary to avoid entirely.
Cruise lines have implemented rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocols onboard ships, in addition to standard sanitization processes. Many have also denied boarding to people who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days of embarkation.
The rest of Celebrity Millennium's 2020 season in Asia has been canceled, including cruises scheduled to depart on Feb. 29, Mar. 14 and 28, Apr. 10 and 21, and May 10.
Celebrity’s Constellation Mar. 2 voyage replaced debarkation in Singapore with debarkation in Dubai; and the call to Phuket, Thailand on Mar. 15 with a day at sea. The Mar. 17 sailing will replace embarkation in Singapore with embarkation in Dubai. The call to Phuket, Thailand on Mar. 19 will be replaced with a day at sea; and port times in Cochin, Goa and Mumbai, India have been extended. Guests will be compensated with onboard credits equal to the rate of one cruise day.
Celebrity Constellation sailings scheduled to sail in India and Southeast Asia will be canceled and replaced with long Caribbean itineraries departing Oct. 31, 2020 through Apr. 19, 2021.
Crystal canceled the remainder of Crystal Symphony’s March and early April sailings that were scheduled to sail from Singapore. The following sailings have been canceled: Mar. 1 Singapore roundtrip; Mar. 1 Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Mar. 16 Singapore roundtrip; Mar. 16 Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Mar. 31 Singapore roundtrip; and Mar. 31 Singapore to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Guests on these canceled sailings will receive a 100% refund of the cruise fare paid along with $500 per person for air consideration. Guests will also receive a future cruise credit of 25% of the base cruise fare paid per segment.
Guests currently on Crystal Symphony’s Feb. 15 cruise will disembark in Singapore as scheduled on Mar. 1. Crystal Symphony’s Apr. 23 voyage will now embark guests in Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Malaysia on Apr. 24.
Queen Elizabeth’s Asia schedule in March has been canceled and will be replaced with an extended season in Australia. Canceled sailings from Mar. 8-15 will be fully refunded.
Queen Elizabeth’s new extended season in Australia will comprise two six-night Tasmania voyages, two 11-night New Zealand voyages, and her first 27-night full circumnavigation of Australia. Queen Elizabeth will then sail a 25-night transpacific crossing from Sydney to Vancouver via New Caledonia, Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Cunard will resume Queen Elizabeth’s Asia itineraries in September.
Queen Mary 2 canceled calls on Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam's Ho Chi Min City and Nha Trang, and is instead sailing direct to Australia.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line has canceled all Asia cruises of the Westerdam remaining in the season, including: Mar. 14-28, 14-day “South Korea and Japan,” sailing roundtrip Yokohama, Japan; Mar. 28-Apr. 11, 14-day “Japan Explorer,” sailing roundtrip Yokohama; April 11-25, 14-day “Japan and Russia,” sailing roundtrip Yokohama; and Apr. 25-May 10, 16-day “North Pacific Crossing,” sailing Yokohama to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Future Westerdam itineraries will be released once they are finalized.
MSC Cruises has updated the itinerary of MSC Bellissima for the upcoming 28-night “Grand Voyage” sailing from the Gulf to Asia.
The itinerary for the Mar. 21 sailing will see the cancellation of the port visits to Shenzhen (mainland China), Hong Kong, and Keelung (Taiwan); and the addition of Laem Chabang/Bangkok (Thailand), Phu My/Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), as well as an extra day in Kobe (Japan). In addition, the ship will now also call on Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE, instead of Khor Fakkan, UAE. It will conclude with an overnight in Kobe, Japan; before disembarkation in Yokohama, Japan on Apr. 18.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all Norwegian Spirit's Asia sailings between Apr. 15, 2020 and Dec. 7, 2020. It will redeploy the ship in Athens from Apr. 19, 2020, offering seven or eight ports in seven days, calling on destinations including Rhodes, Mykonos, Santorini and Corfu, Greece; Kusadasi and Istanbul, Turkey; Ashdod and Haifa, Israel; Limassol, Cyprus as well as two new ports of call for the brand, Patmos and Volos, Greece.
Oceania has canceled all cruises in Asia through June 2020, and guests will receive a full refund along with a future cruise credit.
Sapphire Princess voyages in 2020 have been canceled or modified due to travel restrictions and port closures in Asia. Sapphire Princess will redeploy to Australia six months earlier than previously planned with 44 new cruises from five major cities. The new year-long program for Sapphire Princess in Australia will be on sale beginning Feb. 27, 2020.
After a prolonged quarantine period, Princess canceled additional Diamond Princess sailings through Apr. 20. Diamond Princess is scheduled to return to service Apr. 29, 2020 for the start of Japan's annual Golden Week celebrations.
Regent Seven Seas
The Mar. 1, 13 and 27, 2020 voyages on Seven Seas Voyager have been canceled. Seven Seas Mariner itineraries on Mar. 1 and Mar. 19, 2020 sailings have been modified to skip Hong Kong. Following these changes, Regent will not have any vessels deployed in Asia until December 2020.
Spectrum of the Seas’ sailings on Mar. 5, 13, 17 and 21 in Asia have been canceled. The Quantum of the Seas Mar. 4 and 8 sailings have also been canceled.
The cruise line has no sailings departing from mainland China or Hong Kong through mid-March.
U.S. guests on cruises in Asia departing before Mar. 23 who want to change their plans will be allowed to rebook at a later date without penalty.
Seabourn Cruise Line
All Southeast Asia port calls for Seabourn Ovation sailings through April 2020 have been replaced. The ship’s next scheduled embarkation, originally planned for Mar. 14, 2020 in Singapore, will now take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka on the same date.
Port calls from Mar. 15-Apr. 3 are affected, with some destinations changed and others rescheduled to alternate dates.
Guests who are booked on affected voyages will receive a future cruise credit. Both booked guests and travel advisors are being notified.
Seabourn also replaced the Asia port calls on its “World Cruise 2020” aboard Seabourn Sojourn with calls in Australia and New Zealand.